Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

The hubby requested pancakes for christmas breakfast and I wanted to find something different then your basic pancake.  I happen to stubble upon a recipe for cinnamon roll pancakes which led me to another recipe for gingerbread cinnamon roll pancakes and it being x-mas and all I had to go with the gingerbread.... of course :) 
These pancakes were awesome, they not only tasted delicious but when you flip the pancake over to cook the swirl side and flip it back, it looks just like a cinnamon roll on top. The only thing is, I wish I could have shared these yummy pancakes with my family for christmas.  Though I can be happy that at least me and my husband can spend the holidays together instead of being deployed this year. I adapted this recipe a little since I didn't have all the ingredients it called for, and they still turned out superb!  and looked pretty cool too. 

Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes 
Adapted from Recipe Girl
Yields: 6-8 pancakes
Prep: 15 minutes  Cook: 20 minutes


Cinnamon filling

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
2 tablespoons dark mollasses
2 tablespoons water
1 large egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 tablespoons ground baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt


Prepare the cinnamon filling before you make the pancakes.
- In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave, takes about 20 - 40 seconds.
- Mix in the brown sugar and spices with a whisk, make sure that the mixture is combined well and not lumpy.
- Scoop the mixture into a small ziplock baggy and set aside (while your making the pancake batter the mixture will cool and thicken up a little)

Prepare the batter

- In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, coffee, molasses, water and egg.
- In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix till just combined. (don't over mix its okay if they are some lumps in the batter)

Cooking the pancakes

- Set your oven to warm or 200 degrees and add a pan into the oven, use this as a warmer tray for placing your cooked pancakes in, to keep warm while finishing the entire batter.
- Preheat a large skillet on medium heat and spray the pan with cooking spray
- Scoop a 1/3 measuring cup of batter into the skillet and spread it around a little to make a round shape
 - Take your zip lock baggy and cut a small hole in the corner and pipe a swirl onto your pancake.
- Cook the pancake for about 3 minutes until you start seeing bubbles on the side of the pancake, flip the pancake over and cook the swirl side for about 2 minutes, dont worry if you see some of the swirl mixture oozing out from under the pancake.
- Flip the pancake over to expose the swirl side and serve with syrup or they are great by themselves as well.  Enjoy.

I link up to these awesome parties 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Taco Bean Chili Soup Mix + Pasta Soup Mix

We all have those family members who don't necessarily have a sweet tooth.....shocking! I know, crazy right? But its true my mom is diffidently one of those lucky women who just don't have a sweet tooth.  Its more like a vodka tooth...lol just kidding, love you mom! inside joke between us :)

But seriously I wanted to give her and some other family members a homemade edible gift that wasn't just cookies, so I had to go a little outside the box.  My wonderful neighbor and friend let me borrow a small book she bought from the girl scouts that contained recipes for items in a jar and a few showcased soup mixes.  My mom and nana are huge soup fans so I knew that these homemade gifts would be just for them.

There are 2 different soup mixes.  Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix and a Taco Bean Chili Mix that have been adapted from the Gifts from a Jar book.

Materials You'll Need
Mason Jar (pint size for the chili bean mix)
Mason Jar (Quart size for the pasta mix)
Glue stick
Name tags

Ingredients for Taco Bean Chili Jar

1/2 Cup dried Kidney Beans
1/2 Cup dried Pinto Beans
1/2 Cup dried Red Beans
1 Package (1 1/4 ounce) Taco Seasoning Mix
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

To Layer the Ingredients

1st layer:  Kidney Beans
2nd layer: Pinto Beans
3rd layer: Red Beans
4th layer: ziplock sandwich bag with all your spices

In a ziplock sandwich bag and all your spices including emptying the taco seasoning mix into it.  add the ziplock baggy as the 4th layer and place the lid and close tight.

Recipe for the Taco Bean Chili

1 Jar Taco Bean Chili Mix
4 cups Beef broth or Vegetarian broth to make it vegetarian :)
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chiles
1 can (8 ounces) Tomato Sauce
1 pound ground beef or morning star crumbles (for vegetarian) cooked and drained
1 1/2 cups tortilla chips
Optional: Shredded Cheese, cilantro, sour cream and extra chips for dipping

- Remove the spice bag from the jar and set aside
- Place beans in a large bowl; cover with water. Soak 6 to 8 hours or overnight.  (To quick soak the beans, place beans in large saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; let soak, covered for 1 hour).  Drain beans; discard water.
- Place soaked beans, broth, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, ground beef or crumbles and contents of spice packet in a large pot or dutch oven.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover; reduct heat and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until beans are tender.
- Optional- Crush tortilla chips. Stir into chili and cook 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.  Serve with cheese, cilantro and sour cream.

Ingredients for the Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix Jar

2 1/2 cups Farfalle (bow tie) pasta
2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes, soup greens or dehydrated vegetables
1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon chicken or vegetable bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

To Layer the Ingredients

Place pasta into the jar and sprinkle in the dried vegetables , onion, granules, italian seasoning, sugar, minced dried garlic and pepper.  Place the parmesan cheese into a ziplock bag and add it to the top of the pasta. Close the lid and decorate the jar.

Recipe for Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix

1 Jar Italian Tomato Pasta Soup Mix
5 cups water
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/2 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 to 6 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (omit for vegetarian)


- Remove cheese packet from jar
- Combine the water and remaining contents of jar in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat; boil 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, spinach and bacon.  Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Note: Even though I am vegetarian my family is not, so most of these recipes are easily adapted to be either made for my dear meat eaters or my fellow vegetarians.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

M&M Christmas Cookies in a Jar

This is my first DIY project that I will be sharing. This homemade gift is not only bakes into delicious cookies with tons of chocolate chips and m&m's, its also pretty inexpensive to purchase the items you'll need, you can decorate the jars to suit the person your giving the gift to.  I got my mason jars from the Japanese 100 yen store, its basically your $ dollar tree in the states.  and I just bought a bunch of ribbon and stickers to paste onto my jars.  I also went into word and used a nice template and typed the recipe out and printed them on card stock and added the recipe to a Christmas card.

The reason for making homemade gifts this year was I wanted to do something extra special for my family and friends.  I thought hmmm, whats more special then homemade gifts that you can eat.  I can't tell you how excited I get every year knowing that my nana will send me a box of homemade cookies. So I'm hoping that my family and friends will get excited for my special homemade gifts each year, perhaps this will start my own tradition of sending out homemade cookies just like my nana.

I found this wonderful idea at Bakerella and adapted them for a Christmas themed gift.

M&M Christmas Cookies in a Jar


Mason Jar ( 1 quart size)
Ribbon any color
glue stick

Ingredients for the Jar
Adapted from Bakerella 

1 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooking oats
3/4 cups m&m's
3/4 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar

How to layer the ingredients

1st layer: Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together
2nd layer: Oats
3rd layer: M&Ms
4th layer: chocolate chips
5th layer: Brown Sugar
6th layer: White sugar

I used a large spoon to add each layer into the jar, after adding the first layer, pack each layer next tightly by pressing down with the spoon or using your hand make a fist and gently pack each layer down.

Directions for baking the cookies

You'll need 
1 Jar m&m christmas cookies
1 egg slightly beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper
- Dump the ingredients from the jar into a large bowl and mix together.
- Mix your wet ingredients together in a small bowl and add to the dry ingredients.  using the back of a wooden spoon, work all the ingredients together.  Though I found that using your hands to combine the ingredients together worked the best :)
- Roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, place on the cookie sheet and back for 10 minutes, makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I apologize for not having a after shot of the cookies, I stayed up extra late to make a batch for family to send out in their packages the next day and i honestly didn't have enough energy to set up my make shift studio and take shots. Plus my hands hurt so much from all the paper cuts from the wrapping paper and boxes lol. Good thing x-mas comes once a year, and too bad I live in Japan so far away from family.

I link up to these fun parties 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Double Dipped Eggnog Glazed Baked Donuts

It appears I've been on a little bit of an eggnog kick lately. 

Though I have a very good reason why, I honestly never drink it.
 I get so excited to see anything christmassy at the grocery store every year, that I don't care what it is, no matter if I like it or not I will buy it just for the nostalgia of the holidays.....i.e. Pumpkin spice creamer, canned pumpkin puree, gingerbread tea, eggnog and even fruit cake (okay I lied about the fruit cake, I will still not eat that) 

Even though I only like eggnog for the first 2 sips.  I don't want to see it go to waste, so why not incorporate eggnog in all my favorite recipes. 

Double Dipped Eggnog Glazed Donuts
Adapted from  Food.com
Yields: 18 Donuts


 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons butter at room temp
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk


- Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
- In a electric mixer, combine the soften butter and sugar together, mix for 2-3 minutes
- Add the eggs and mix until blended
- In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix until combined
- Add milk to the batter and mix, the dough should start getting thick and slightly sticky
- Using a donut pan, lightly grease the pan with pam or butter, spoon your batter into a pipping bag, snip a hole in the bottom and pipe the batter into each donut mold about half way full
- Bake for 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean

Eggnog Glaze


1/3 cup butter
4 tablespoons eggnog
2 cups powdered sugar

*Double the recipe to glaze all donuts


Melt the butter in the microwave, add the powdered sugar and eggnog and mix until all the sugar is dissolved  dip you half of you cooled donuts in the glaze.  Let stand for 10 minutes and dip again. or using a large spoon, drizzle the second coating over the donuts. 

I link up to these fun parties and entered my recipe into the Shine Supper Club Holiday treat contest. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Eggnog Fudge

This Christmas its all about the edible gifts.  I'm going to take a couple of days off work to whip up batches of cookies, candies and fudge for my family back in Oregon and my in-laws in NewYork.  Though before I just whip up a batch of something I have never made before I have to do a test batch to make sure its worthy enough to be shipped out to my family and friends.


So this was my test batch for a delight eggnog fudge that incorporates eggnog, white chocolate and marshmallow creme.  The fudge was pretty easy to make, I think from start to finish it took about 15 minutes.  The fudge had a great eggnog flavor and consistency. My co-workers thought it was delicious and tasted just like eggnog, though they requested a little more rum added next time ;)  The next batch will be added to my DIY tab since this test batch was a success.

Eggnog Fudge


1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup eggnog
11 oz bag of white chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
7 oz jar of marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon rum or rum extract


- Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with foil and let some extra hang over the side. Butter the foil or use pam.
- in a 3-quart saucepan combine sugar, butter and eggnog on high heat.  Bring to a rolling boil, stir the mixture constantly. Continue boiling 8-10 minutes over high heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 F.
- Using a wooden spoon, work quickly to stir in the white chocolate chips and nutmeg until chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in marshmallow creme and rum.  Beat until well blended and than pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle a little ground nutmeg on top.  Let stand at room temp until cooled or place in the refrigerator for 2 hours to speed up the process.
- When completely cooled, cut into squares and store in an air tight container.

*Recipe Adapted from recipe girl.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Buttercream

I've felt like I've been in a food coma for the past 3 days...anyone else?  So much food, not a large enough stomach.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I was a baking machine this week.  Since we went to a friends house for turkey day, my contribution was dessert...big surprise there lol.  So I spent all wednesday night making pumpkin cheesecake and the next morning making cupcakes.  My poor kitchen was a disatser, I wish the Keebler elf's would come at night when I'm sleeping and clean my kitchen.

This recipe comes from the show on TLC called George Town Cupcakes  I enjoy watching the sisters aventures in there bakery, just as much as I would probably enjoy their cupcakes.  I finally broke down and bought their  book on amazon with their most popular recipes.  I decided to try the red velvet recipe because 1 I've never had red velvet before and 2 the guys from my husbands office requested red velvet cupcakes with cinnamon frosting for their potluck at work.  Now I'm not sure if the recipe is truly the same one they use at their bakery, normally their cupcakes look very moist.  The cupcake that came out for me wasn't necessarily moist but it wasn't dry either, it was very light, fluffy and spongey. Still good and not very sweet which pairs well with the buttercream.

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Buttercream
from The Cupcake Diaries 

Yields: 12-15 cupcakes


3 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temp
4 tablespoons red food color like McCormick
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder, shifted
1 1/2 cups whole milk (I used 2% milk) at room temp
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar


- Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
- Sift together the flour and salt in a small bowl and set aside
- In a electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until and light and fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly after each addition
- In a small bowl whisk together the red food coloring, vanilla, cocoa powder. Slowly add the mixture to the electric mixer with the butter and mix until incorporated
- Add 1/3 of the flour, followed by the 1/3 of the milk to the electric mixer and mix.  Repeat, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed.  Add the last third of the flour, followed by the last of the milk and mix until incorporated.
- In a small bowl, add the baking soda to the apple cider vinegar.  It will get fizzy, at it to the batter and mix thoroughly.
- fill the cupcakes liners 2/3 full and bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Cinnamon Buttercream
Adapted from Can you stay for dinner?


1 cup 2% Milk
5 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter at room temp
1 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)


- In a medium saucepan, whisk 1 cup of milk with 5 tablespoons flour. Heat over medium until the mixture starts to bubble, whisk constantly. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken, it will soon thicken to the consistency of cake batter. After about 7 minutes of whisking remove the mixture from the heat and add your extract.  Transfer the mixture to a heat proof bowl and let the mixture cool completely to room temperature. (I let it sit for about 30 minutes, stirring the mix every 10 minutes to release the heat)

- In your electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium high for 3 to 5 minutes the mixture should be light and fluffy and white in color. You want the sugar to be completely incorporated in the butter.

- Make sure that your milk/flour mixture is completely cooled and add it to the butter and sugar. (you don't want the milk/flour mix to be warm or it could melt the butter).  Beat all ingredients together for 1 to 2 minutes on high speed, scrapping down the side of the bowl halfway, until smooth and blended. The frosting should be light and fluffy like whipped cream.

I link up to these fabulous parties

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

I've had the hardest time finding the perfect buttercream...until now!
I think I just found my go to frosting for cupcakes. I never tried a cooked frosting before, I initially thought it was too much work.  But after making another batch of powdered sugar frosting that I decided to throw away... again, I figured it was time for a change and  go outside my comfort zone.

I have to say I'm really happy I did, the cooked buttercream frosting came out smooth and creamy like whipped cream and it had a great pipping consistency.  Plus it wasn't overly sugary like you can get with powdered sugar frostings.  I will diffidently be using this recipe as my go to and can't wait to try more flavors.

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream
Recipe from Taste of Home


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice

Eggnog Buttercream
Adapted from Can you stay for dinner?


1 cup eggnog
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butter at room temp
1 1/4 cup sugar (not powdered sugar)


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and fill a cupcake tin with paper liners
- In a electric mixer cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the egg and then the water and molasses
- In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients flour, baking soda, powder and spices
- Add your dry mixture to the electric mixer with your wet mixture and beat on medium until combined about 2 minutes.
- Fill cupcakes liners 2/3 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. (mine took 22 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack completely.

Buttercream Directions

- In a medium saucepan, whisk 1 cup of eggnog with 5 tablespoons flour. Heat over medium until the mixture starts to bubble, whisk constantly. Continue to stir until the mixture starts to thicken, it will soon thicken to the consistency of cake batter. After about 7 minutes of whisking remove the mixture from the heat and add your extract.  Transfer the mixture to a heat proof bowl and let the mixture cool completely to room temperature. (I let it sit for about 30 minutes, stirring the mix every 10 minutes to release the heat)

- In your electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium high for 3 minutes the mixture should be light and fluffy and white in color. You want the sugar to be completely incorporated in the butter.

- Make sure that your milk/flour mixture is completely cooled and add it to the butter and sugar. (you don't want the milk/flour mix to be warm or it could melt the butter).  Beat all ingredients together for 1 minute on high speed, scrapping down the side of the bowl halfway, until smooth and blended. The frosting should be light and fluffy like whipped cream.

I link up to these awesome parties 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Apple Crisp for 2!

You ever have one of those mornings from the minute you wake up everything you touch self destructs. When I have mornings like that right from the start, my first initial thought is" oh man something bad is going to happen today"  because it always starts with the small things.  Like when I was making my husband breakfast, I went into the fridge to grab some salsa and ended dropping 6 eggs on the floor, cracking all but 1.  Next, not even 10 minutes later after making him breakfast, I take my english muffin out of the toaster and start to butter one side and ended up throwing the other end on the dirty kitchen floor that I haven't started cleaning yet from yesterday.... I think I should just stay indoors today because who the heck knows what could happen to me if I walk out my front door.

If you ask me if I would like a slice of Apple Pie or Apple Crisp, 9 times out of 10 I will always pick Apple Crisp.  For me the crust just gets in the way, I prefer the crumbly oaty topping on a crisp.  Also crisp are super fast and easy to whip together.  Just dice an apple up, add your sugar and make your topping in less then 15 minutes and pop it in the oven while you eat dinner.  After dinner you have a delicious hot apple crisp for dessert.  Don't forget to top with some whip cream or ice cream :)

Apple Crisp for 2
Oishii Treat Original


1-2 Apples cored and diced
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
sprinkle of ginger and nutmeg

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter


- Preheat your oven for 350 degrees
- In a small bowl add your diced apples, lemon juice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, mix well
- In a food processor or blender add your ingredients for the topping, make sure to cut the cold butter up, it helps mix better.
- In two ramekins, evenly divide your diced apples up and top with your crisp. Bake for 30 minutes

I Link up to these great parties!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Kale & Mushroom Pumpkin Pasta

I love to stock up with tons of pumpkin during the fall.  Its not something thats easily available all throughout the year and so I make up for it when October and November roll around.  I probably have about 20 cans right now in my cupboard, uh a little too much?  nah what am I thinking you can never have too much of a good thing, and it dosen't hurt that it's healthy for you.  I usually use pumpkin in sweet dishes but being infected with the sickness and all (common cold) and not having much of a sweet tooth tonight...shocker I know.  I wanted too use up some of those 20 cans of pumpkin and I thought why not make a yummy creamy pumpkin sauce for pasta.  It was really easy and fast to make and you can use it for not only pasta but it would be great over ravioli or perhaps even rice.

Kale & Mushroom Pumpkin Pasta
Oishii Treat Original


10-13 ounce box of penne pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup red onion diced small
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 cups kale (ribs removed, washed and tear apart into bite sized pieces)
3/4 cups pumpkin puree
3/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup white cheddar cheese shredded


- In a large sauté pan on medium high heat add you butter and let it melt
- Add your diced onion and garlic cooking for 2 minutes
- Add in the sliced mushrooms, stir around and cook for another 2 minutes
- Add in your kale stirring for about 2 minutes until in starts to wilt
- In a large pot of boiling water cook your pasta according to package directions
- In the large pan mix in the pumpkin, broth, half and half, basil and parsley. stir until completely combined
- Reduce the heat to medium low and cook the sauce while the pasta is cooking, about 10 minutes.
- Drain your past and add it back to the pot, add in your sauce and 1/2 cup of your shredded cheese and mix well.
- serve it up and if you like top with a little more cheese

I also linked up to a few new link parties over at Seven Alive, Mom on Time Out, Practically Functional, Two Yellow Birds Decor, Live Laugh

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Apple Pie

There is nothing better than your house filling up
with the aroma of delicious homemade apple pie.  Oh man does it smell good in my house, forget about candles I'm just going to make pie whenever I want my house to smell like christmas.  So for this delicious apple pie, we  procured our apples from an orchard in Aomori Japan.  We recently went on an apple picking tour and had the chance to pick apples at a local orchard and eat as many as we could before our picking time was up.  I have no clue what's in the soil here in Japan. But these are some massive apples!
It took only 3 to fill the pie; talk about your giant apples.

Apple Pie
Adapted from Tikkido

Ingredients for Crust

4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups cold butter
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 table spoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons cold water
3 tablespoons vodka


- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Next using a sharp knife cut your butter into small grape sized cubes and add it to the flour mixture
- In a separate small bowl combine your cold water and vodka
- Using your hands mix and squish the butter and flour together for a couple of minutes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of water mixture to your flour and combine with your hands
- Keep adding water 2 tablespoons at a time until you start forming a ball of dough.
- You most likely will not need to use all of the water to make the dough, just keep adding 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough starts forming.
- Once you get a ball of dough, flour a flat smooth surface and divide your dough in half.
- Roll out half of your dough large enough to fill a pie pan.  cut away excess dough from the edge of your pie pan
- Save the other half of your dough when you are ready to add it to the top of your pie. put the crust and dough into the fridge until your ready to add your apples

Ingredients for Filling

3 large apples or if you dont have mutan apples like mine 4-5 apples any kind
1/2 sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cold butter


- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
- peel and slice your apples and add it to a large bowl
- Drizzle your lemon juice over apple slices and combine (i used my hands to mix the apples)
- add your sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples and mix
- add the flour and mix into your apples
- Add your apple mixture
- slice your cold butter and add it to the top of the apples
- roll out the other half of your dough and top your pie.
- cut off excess dough from the edges and using your fingers pinch together the top and bottom dough around the rim together forming a ruffle effect.
- Slice a few vent holes in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape while baking
- Bake for 40 minutes, once done allow to cool on a wire rack. once cool enough transfer to fridge to allow the juice to firm up and thicken.  serve with some vanilla ice cream and whip cream

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Corn Chowder

Did you know that you can buy corn soup in a can from a vending machine on the side of a dirt road in Japan?  Well you can! and in the same vending machine you can buy your hot or cold coffee, tea, juice and soda.  The vending machines here are pretty awesome and there're everywhere....seriously everywhere!.... im really not kidding here you can literally drive within 15 minutes of any vending machine no matter where you are.  I even buy my eggs fresh from a vending machine outside the base gate near a traffic light.

If you need a quick left over meal on those nights where you don't have time to cook, this corn chowder is great. I was able to reheat a bowl of chowder for me and the hubby 3 different nights in less than 10 minutes, before rushing off to night school or coming home late from work.

Corn Chowder
Adapted from Tyler Florence
Yields 8 servings


1 tablespoon salted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 springs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup flour
6 cups vegetable stock
2 cups half and half
2 large potatoes peeled and diced
2 cups frozen corn
garlic salt and pepper
1/4 fresh parsley chopped


- Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add your onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the onions are soft about 8-10 minutes.
- sprinkle the vegetables with flour and mix well
- Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil
- Add the half and half and potatoes and let the soup boil for 10 minutes to help the potatoes break down
- Add your corn and season with salt and pepper and simmer until the corn is soft, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- stir in the parsley and serve

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

You know how many times I came close to stabbing myself when craving pumpkins.... ALOT.  Thats because I have no regard for my own safety sometimes when I become obsessed with trying to extract the gold from inside my pumpkin.   I don't crave my pumpkin for the decorative appeal, thats just an added bonus. I like to crave my pumpkin for its seeds.  There is nothing healthier, tastier and easier than making delicious roasted pumpkin seeds.  and there is nothing better than chowing down on them during a recent hiking trip through Towada Lake.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Garlic Salt


Seeds from your craved pumpkin
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1-2 teaspoons Garlic Salt


- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Scoop out your seeds from inside your pumpkin and place in a small bowl, try to separate the seeds from the fiber/string of the pumpkin as best as you can aka the guts.
- Transfer your seeds to a colander and wash under cold water for 2-3 minutes, to remove any leftover fibers or guts of the pumpkin
- Pat the seeds dry on paper towels add to a medium bowl with the olive oil and mix well.
- Using a cookie sheet spread the seeds out evenly and sprinkle the seeds with your garlic salt
- Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally (I would occasionally check on the crunchiness of my seeds by periodically opening the oven during and stealing a seed to try it doneness.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Artichoke, Kale and Cheddar Hot Pockets for 2

I love hot pockets but its hard to find vegetarian ones at the grocery store.  Most of the time everything has chicken or pepperoni in it.
      So what do vegetarians do when we want a traditional meaty comfort food?  We come up with a homemade version :)  It was a lot of fun coming up with different flavor combinations when making these homemade hot pockets.  I finally decided on white sauce, kale and artichoke that baked beautifully and was quite tasty! What flavor combo would you try?

Artichoke, Kale and Cheddar Hot Pockets for 2
Oishii Treats Original
Yields: 2

Prep 20 Min
Cook 20 min


1 can Pillsbury seamless dough sheet
1 cup Kale (washed and chopped roughly)
4 Artichoke Hearts (I bought canned artichoke, drained them of their water and chopped them)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup half/half
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
dash of pepper
dash of garlic salt
1 egg white


- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Place a small saute pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray
- Add you chopped artichokes and kale to the pan and saute for about 5-6 minutes or until kale is wilted sprinkle with a little garlic salt. Set aside
- In a small sauce pan on medium high heat melt your butter and add the flour, stir until completly combined.
- Pour in your half/half and whisk until thicken about 4 minutes.  add 1/2 cup of your shredded cheese, whisk until completely melted and combined.  You should have a nice thick white sauce.
- Roll out your dough sheet on too parchment paper- I had to re roll mine due to the packaging ripping the dough
- Evenly divide the dough into 4 equal rectangles

- Add about 3 tablespoons of the white sauce to the middle of 2 rectangles (keep the filling in the middle away from the edges so it can seal well), add 2-3 tablespoons of your artichoke and kale mixture, top with some extra cheddar cheese.

- Take your other rectangle half and do a light egg white wash on the seams of the dough, cover your filling and sealing the sides by using a fork to crimp down the edges. do a light egg white wash on the top of the dough and sprinkle with some garlic salt. transfer the parchment paper with your pockets onto a cookie sheet and Bake for 20 minutes .

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